Jeremy Weisz 12:51
Is there a risk, Jordan, from the agency’s standpoint of doing that? if they’re footing the bill? I mean, is there a possibility? I don’t know if it happens that the client, they have to build a client for that money, but they’re footing the bill up front for those people, right.
Jordan Slover 13:07
I mean, Google, so we have our clients put their own credit card down and kills them as the…
Jeremy Weisz 13:12
I mean, not in your case. But in the other case, if an agency is running it through their account, they’re footing the bill upfront for that client. Right. Yeah, unless the client pays in advance. Got it. Yeah. So I could see, I don’t know if that’s a risk from the agency perspective, just to run it that way. If the client doesn’t pay the bill, I guess.
Jordan Slover 13:39
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if we had that business model, which we don’t, I would certainly make clients pay up front before we footed the bill. But we don’t do it that way.
Jeremy Weisz 13:52
I want to talk and this is a conversation with a lot of agency. So from the Sydney agency, some of the things you learned, as far as, you brought this new division, was there anything on the sales side? You know, because that was kind of one of your roles, there is the sales, what works? And what was kind of a methodology that you use, and you have your team use for that works with kind of the sales process?
Jordan Slover 14:25
Well, I don’t know if this is related or not, but maybe it is I haven’t really thought about it. But both my parents were teachers. My mom was a second grade teacher for 35 years and my dad was a high school art teacher. This is actually a self-portrait he did when he was like, about 30. He painted himself as a matador, which I find hilarious. He was not a matador. But I don’t know if That’s part of it. But I have always tried to help our prospective clients understand that while SEO is complicated, and Google ads have a lot of moving pieces that these are smart business people that have started a business, and if they want to understand how works, all they need to do is give me time. So I spend a lot of time in the sales process, just trying to educate, because I want people to understand what we’re doing and why and have a pretty good understanding of how it all works.
Jeremy Weisz 15:45
What are some common mistakes that you see people making, when you’re educating them that they make with the SEO component?
Jordan Slover 15:56
Well, not doing enough research on the company that they’re considering going with, I think is a big one, this is a pretty big decision for most businesses, you’re usually hiring an agency, not thinking it’s going to be a short term solution, right, you’re hoping that you make the right choice, and that this is going to be the agency, it’s going to help you grow for years to come. And I see a lot of people kind of rushing through the process and not doing their due diligence. I’ve had prospects who will tell me who we’re up against, hey, are in the final two, you’ve got to present to the boss and other agencies and present to the boss. And I’ll always try to find out who we’re up against, don’t always do that. But if I can, the last two times that I found out who we’re up against, I look them up on LinkedIn, just, because I haven’t heard of them. You know, you can’t roll a tennis ball down the street without rolling past for online marketing agencies. So it’s impossible to keep track of all of them. So I looked him up on LinkedIn. And the last one that I looked up was a firm based out of Atlanta, and that’s how he described him to me. I was like, I’ve never heard of him, Where are they based? He’s like Atlanta, and like, okay, I look them up, and they’re on LinkedIn. And yes, one guy is in Atlanta, and the other three people at the agency, there’s only four people with the entire agency, we’re in Jakarta and Bangladesh, which is fine, if that’s what you are looking for. But they didn’t know that they thought they were based out of Atlanta. And they thought they were much bigger firm, because their website tried to portray them as a big agency. And I was like, hey, is this who you’re talking about? Because, and he’s like, oh, my gosh, I didn’t know any of that, you know, the time before that, I looked up, and we have a big SEO team and SEO director with 15 years of experience and another Seo 20. Another one with 15. Yeah, we got a really experienced SEO team here. And I looked up who we’re up against, and the only person listed at this other company on SEO team was a mechanic two years ago, which again, like totally, wonderful profession, but my people have been doing SEO for 15 years, like, do you think this person has been doing for two years is gonna get you the same results, only being the only person that the whole company that that does SEO for all of their clients? So I just think you got to dig deeper. I also interview a ton of SEOs and a ton of account managers because we’re growing and we’re constantly looking for better talent. And I interview account managers who have 30 40 accounts assigned to them, that’s like impossible, I think, to properly service that many accounts. I’ve interviewed SEOs who had 120 accounts that they worked on a month. There’s 187 working hours in a month. If all you do is SEO, every day eight hours a day. That’s one and a half hours per client a month. That’s it. And we all know you can’t do that you have meetings and you know, so I think clients really should spend more time vetting the agencies that they’re going to hire.
Jeremy Weisz 19:41
What do you look for, you’re growing? What do you look for in the account manager?
Jordan Slover 19:50
Good question. Someone who’s whip smart. We generally are looking for someone who has at least five years of agency experience already. One of the things I’m realizing about how I built agency that’s different from a lot of agencies is, I’ve always tried to hire the most talented people I could afford and most experienced people. It’s not the way a lot of agencies do it. In fact, some part of a peer group. I’ll give a shout out to agencymanagementinstitute.com burned by a guy named Drew,
Jeremy Weisz 20:30
I’ve had Drew on the podcast.
Jordan Slover 20:32
Oh, have you? Yeah, he’s wonderful. I highly recommend you sign up for his newsletter at the very least, but I’m part of one of his peer groups. And he’ll tell you that the way most agencies make money is to have a few senior people and a lot of junior woodchucks was his words, and raise my hands and you’re gonna have any Junior woodchucks. And so, as we get bigger, we start to realize the need for more junior people, you know, you don’t need senior people doing everything. But even so I tried to kind of limit that. So people that have still had five years of experience. And I think I lost track of your questions.
Jeremy Weisz 21:18
I was like, what do you look for an account manager?
Jordan Slover 21:21
Yeah. Well, someone that’s, that’s been an account manager before, is required, someone who has a lot of experience in a digital agency specifically. I don’t want to have to teach them about Google ads, or, or SEO, of course, the Learn More coming here, but I like someone that has that experience. But personality is important in the role, they’re managing the relationship. They need to be super organized and just someone that you want to work with every day.
Jeremy Weisz 22:02
When you’re through the hiring process how are you? It’s tough. Sometimes people sometimes put their best foot forward. What do you have in the process to kind of decide is this person organized? You like their personality? I mean, maybe you do off the bat? I don’t know the interview process is a little bit a microcosm of is it real or not? What is the hiring process look like?
Jordan Slover 22:33
Yeah, we certainly have had that happen in the past and it can be frustrating when you try to put people through the paces and then the start and maybe aren’t exactly who they said they were. I halfway anticipated, you might ask about a book that I like reading. So I kept this handy. Have you heard of this book? Yeah. by Jeff Smart, and Randy street, I keep this on my desk all
Jeremy Weisz 23:05
If you’re just listening, and but if you’re watching the video, he held up the book Who? And I actually had the CEO of Topgrading on my podcast, and I believe that’s his son who wrote that and the dad wrote Topgrading.
Jordan Slover 23:22
Yeah, I think that’s right. I’m not positive.
Jeremy Weisz 23:27
Yeah. CEO, Chris Mursau runs Topgrading. But there the book is Topgrading hiring a players and I think his son wrote Who, I believe.
Jordan Slover 23:37
Yeah, that sounds right. And it’s got sample interview questions. And yeah, Topgrading interview questions, and you know, how to check references. And we tried to follow that as closely as we can, we’re not perfect. But it’s kind of I guess, what I was saying with prospects need to do more due diligence on their agencies, they recommend asking for seven or eight references, and ideas, everyone can kind of give you two three people that like you, and can speak favorably of you, but give me eight. Do we ask for eight references from everyone I know, to be honest, but I do try to ask for as many as they’ll give me and actually call them and talk to them. And there’s a very specific, specific set of questions that you ask in the way that you ask them to get people to open up and we do our best because it’s obviously the number one biggest challenge of running an agency is having really talented people to do the work.
Jeremy Weisz 25:00
Jordan is there. I know there’s a lot of questions and pieces of the process. And if you don’t remember, that’s fine. Is there one question that sticks out that you remember reading from the book or that you’re like, this one’s especially important in that I asked in the process?
Jordan Slover 25:18
Well, there’s one reference question, since we’re talking about references that I think is particularly interesting. And I might not be explaining it the best because I wasn’t prepared for this. But one of the questions is, what were the person’s biggest areas for improvement back then. And the book goes on to explain that saying, back then, really, psychologically opens people up to feeling okay to talk about something that someone might not have been good at. So I usually will ask it even I’ll even go a little deeper and say, obviously, it’s been a few years since you’ve worked with them, or however long it’s been since I’ve worked with them, it usually has been a couple of years, at least, and so, maybe they’ve improved on this since then. But, you know, back then, was there anything that they can improve on? And it seems to work, you know, people really do kind of open up and latch on to that. Yeah, well, they’ve maybe they’ve gotten better at this, you know, I can’t say for certain, but back then, let me tell you this, and that, so that that question. I was really like.
Jeremy Weisz 26:30
I love that. Yeah, Jordan, I know that a lot of the agencies that I talked to really think a lot about the topic of niching down, Right? Should I niche down? How much do I niche down, I niche down, I turn away this segment that I already serve a lot of? So I’d love to hear your thoughts on, because you serve a number of industries, right, you serve, like you said, PI attorneys, you mentioned the insurance genre, I know that you help home builders. How do you think about the topic of niching down for an agency?
Jordan Slover 27:12
Yeah, so it’s really a tricky one for me, because we didn’t start off niche down, although I did make the decision to specialize in Lead gen and not try to be you know, all things to all people and have E commerce and Lead gen. So in a way, we had a small niche of Lead gen. It’s not that niche. But that enabled us to focus from day one on that. And then as we got more and more personal injury clients and had more and more success there and like that industry and like, not everyone has a great opinion of personal injury lawyers, but I certainly do because the stories we hear of people that they help that have gone through really traumatic things and how they’re able to help them and change their lives, really gives a lot of meaning to the work that we do for them. So we certainly have worked with a lot of personal injury lawyers and do I change the audition to be 100% personal injury? Do I not constantly question going on in the back of my mind, and we haven’t made that decision to do that yet. Because we do have a lot of success in other industries and it keeps it different for the people working on or they’re not working on the same thing every time we get to try new things. So I don’t know that I have the answer. But I do have some other agencies that I track that have niched into a couple of niches, right. They do pest control, and then they’ve got another website that whatever, dental practices and so…
Jeremy Weisz 29:04
People have handled it in different ways.
Jordan Slover 29:07
Yeah, there’s a lot to be said for niching you really get to know the industry and get really good and efficient at it. And so I understand why people do it, we’re kind of trying to a niche and also service other good clients. It’s enabled us to turn away business that’s far from what we’re trying to accomplish. But like I said, that’s kind of why we’re talking about highly competitive industries because we, we don’t want to turn away, you know, a good client and a really competitive industry. That’s gonna be a fun project for us.
Jeremy Weisz 29:47
Yeah, let’s talk about some examples. But I like how you put it, you know, one thing is looking at niching into a specific service so that you’re talking lead gen, and the other is also a way to think about niching as an industry, right? And even broad like super competitive industries. And under that for you that falls certain things like PI attorneys or insurance companies and things like that. So let’s talk about an example. So I can understand a little bit about what your company does. There’s a PI attorney that you helped out of Arizona, and what were some of the things you did with them.
Jordan Slover 30:27
Yeah, so this attorney came to us, like a lot of people do really have been burned in the past. I sometimes kind of half joke that my role at Neon Ambition is like SEO therapists. Sometimes, the first five 10 minutes of a call with a prospect is just hearing about how they can’t believe they’re talking to another SEO company. They’ve been burned so many times in the past, and they’re really not sure if it’s gonna work, but they see it work for other people. They don’t know why it’s not working for them. And five 10 minutes go by and I, I only just been listening. Yes, I understand. I understand, we’ve all been burned before, but we have to learn to love again. So remind me the question, Jeremy,
Jeremy Weisz 31:32
I was just saying PI attorney in Arizona.
Jordan Slover 31:39
So he was he was like that and had been burned a lot of times. And so we were able to over a very long sales process that we kind of alluded to earlier, really do a lot of competitive industry and a competitive research and examine a site and audit as Google ads campaign and try to set realistic expectations with them as to what we can do for him. That’s a huge part of my job here, as well as just realistic expectation setting. Something that I think people have to watch out for in the industry. I always try to help people understand, I’m the owner of the agency. And setting realistic expectations is huge for me, I’m not here just like collect my commission check and don’t care what happens in six months, it’s my name on the line in six months, whether you’re going to keep going with us or not. So it was able to break through, and we took over his ad campaign and took over his SEO, and you just had a record breaking year and averaging over a case a day, which for his size firm was his goal.
Jeremy Weisz 32:51
So what was the difference there, Jordan, so someone has worked with three other for whatever number of firms, and you come in, and the person has not had success before? Right. So what was the difference?
Jordan Slover 33:08
Well, that’s my team. Anytime you hire an agency, you’re, you’re hiring people, and you’re paying for their time and expertise, so the thing about SEO, and I think that’s hard for potential clients to choose the right SEO company, and I’m very aware of is that we all sound the same. We all say, we’re gonna do technical audit, and then we’re gonna do keyword research, and then we’re going to write content for you, and then we’re going to build backlinks for you. And I know the words come out of my mouth, they’ve already heard it three, four times, you know? And the reality is, this is the way the algorithm works. And this is what you have to do to be successful, but the devils in the details, how good are your copywriters? You know, how much content are you going to be producing each month? Does the agency have an editor on staff? This is a good question. It’s amazing how many competitors I look up who don’t have an editor on their website or on LinkedIn, and they just expect the client to edit the content. Or do they even have copywriters? Some agencies make their SEOs or account managers write copy. Right? So these are the questions that I try to help people understand is they’re evaluating us and often getting three four other quotes, these are some of the questions that that an agency is not going to just tell you, we don’t have an editor on staff or our SEO is right content, they’re just going to tell you the right content. You know, a lot of SEO companies talk about building backlinks, but they don’t talk about how quality are those backlinks going to be. And when I get into a situation where we’ve made the final two, and people are trying to compare apples to apples, they say, have you asked them how many backlinks they’re gonna be building for each month? And have you asked about what the quality of those backlinks will be? And they say, oh, no, it just says here, and they’ll read from the proposal, monthly outreach. It’s like, okay, well, you might want to ask, you know, how much monthly outreach and what kind of expectations are they setting, right? And then they come back and they’re like, yeah, they said, they’re gonna build Dr. 20 backlinks for us. And I’m like, that’s not going to help you, in your in your industry is too competitive. Like, you know, we have urged Dr. 50 backlinks from many of our clients and these really competitive spaces, because that’s what you’re going to need to move the needle, right. So yeah, I just I literally do feel for a lot of people that I speak to, because they’re busy trying to run their be a lawyer or be a homebuilder, and they don’t have time to learn all this, but I try to help them understand look, I’ve been doing this for like, 14 years now. These are the details that you have to look for, and watch out for when choosing who you work with. And it’s those devil the devil is in the details there in terms of whether it’s gonna work or not.
Jeremy Weisz 36:21
We’re gonna talk about expectations for a second, I think in SEO, too. Is it a tough conversation? Because it let’s say someone else is setting false expectations. Okay. And you have to go in and be like, hey, this may take six months or a year of building this, because it’s super competitive. Right? What are expectations like in the PI World? That I mean, we’ve all heard you want to under promise over deliver or whatever the thing is, but what is a realistic expectation that people should have?
Jordan Slover 36:59
Yeah, I always joke and tell people my favorite part of selling SEO is telling them that there will not be ROI for the first six months, that’s not always the case. It’s not always the case. And to answer your question, it’s very case by case, right? The thing about SEO is that every website is starting in a different position. Right? Did you just launch a website yesterday? Has it been around for five years? 10 years, 20 years? How much content do you have versus a competition? How many backlinks and quality of backlink profile Do you have versus the competition, so every single person I talked to, I have to do all this research and competitive research to figure out where they are, and where the competition is, and then figure out how to close that gap. And then, of course, you know, a lot of it comes down to budget, you know, you can do a little SEO, or you can do a lot, you can write two pages a month, or you can write 12 pages a month, right, you write two pages a month, it’s gonna take a lot longer to catch the competition, in some cases, you’re never going to catch them. And that is where a lot of people go wrong with SEO, I can’t tell you how many people I talked to that are spending 2000 or $3,000 a month on SEO, which seems to be like the number that any bad SEO company can convince someone who doesn’t know about SEO to spend two or $3,000 a month. Because the people I speak to that are unhappy, have been spending two or $3,000 a month on SEO, getting one or two pages a month written for them. And then you look at who’s dominating in their space, and they’re pumping out four pages a week, you know, you’re trying to do two pages a month and they’re doing 16 pages a month. You’re never gonna catch up. You’re never gonna catch them. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 38:53
Super interesting. Yeah. It’s tough to have that conversation. I imagine like, the client doesn’t want to hear that, right? We’re not gonna get, but sometimes you need to set real expectations for people.
Jordan Slover 39:11
I try to tell people I’m not, you know, I’m not trying to have you as a client for six months, I’m trying to have you as a client for six years, so if I’m going to do my best to tell you what we can achieve over the next six months and, and show you the progress and hopefully show you enough progress and prove to you that we know we’re doing that you keep going with us after that, and, you know, 95% of our customers over the nine years have been in business have done that, so yeah, it’s a tricky one, not everyone signs up when they hear that, not a lot of people can afford to invest in something for six months with no ROI. But even in those cases, there’s always longer tail terms or less competitive terms. So it’s again about taking that conversation a little deeper, hey, you want to rank for car accident and attorney in New York City? So does everyone else. Right. But maybe you do construction accident or ladder accident, where search volumes not very high. Not every pie firm does that. But someone falls off a ladder in New York City to be a $4 million case.
Jeremy Weisz 40:29
Yeah. First of all, Jordan, I appreciate you walking through how you think about everything from sales to hiring to niching. I have one last question. Before I ask it, I just want to point people they can learn more at neonambition.com. And they can see, you know, your most valuable team member Walter White on there. The dog from Breaking Bad. But last question is on resources. I’d love to hear any other books, podcasts or resources for any founder or CEO, entrepreneur or agency owner? I know you mentioned the book WHO are there any other books or podcasts or just resources that you look at? The looked at through your journey?
Jordan Slover 41:26
Yeah, I mean, Who is the big one, I keep that on my desk. Pretty much lives on my desk. And I mentioned the Agency Management Institute earlier. Drew does have a podcast. I cannot remember the name of it right now. I’m so sorry, Drew. But if you go to agencymanagementinstitute.com I’m sure there’s a link to his podcast there. If you’re an agency owner, it’s invaluable. Other books besides that I’m trying to look at my bookshelf kind of got books all over the place. I mean, Scaling Up is another one, you know, that I really like, based off the Rockefeller principles written by a guy named Verne Harnish.
Jeremy Weisz 42:13
Jordan Slover 42:16
So a lot of good information in there about meeting schedules.
Jeremy Weisz 42:21
Yeah, he’s been on the podcast so people to check out that episode that we did be a great book, Scaling Up. Love it. Well Jordan, I’m the first one to thank you. Thank you for sharing. Thanks, everyone for listening and we’ll see you next time.
Jordan Slover 42:37